Published on March 12th, 2012 | by csaylor0
Turtle conservation group launches satellite tracking program
In October 2011, a research boat owned by the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) set sail from their newest location in Playa Blanca on the Osa Peninsula – a site that also includes a newly constructed sea turtle hospital. The team of researchers was off to capture the perfect Pacific Green Sea Turtle specimen to be fitted with a satellite transmitter. Although there were already three possible prospects for the transmitter back at the hospital, the turtle caught that day was selected as the recipient.
According to Director of WIDECAST Didiher Chacon, and a press release by the National Aquarium in Baltimore, who are working together on this specific project, the turtle was selected not only because of her extremely healthy condition, but because the same turtle was observed with a tag from Galapagos by WIDECAST in the same feeding area during the same time in 2010.
The following day, the sea turtle WIDECAST named Amistad (“friendship” in English), was fitted with the transmitter by Chacon and his crew of volunteers and fellow researchers. Many locals, donors and turtle enthusiasts came to watch when Amistad was released on the beach of Playa Blanca to make her way back to the Golfo Dulce and commence her satellite telecast journey with the world watching.
WIDECAST researchers hope to prove that Pacific Green Sea Turtles nest in the Galapagos Islands before making the 700-some nautical mile journey to the Golfo Dulce to re-nourish in her rich feeding areas. Their theory is that Amistad is part of this group and the multi-national project will be able to track her back to her nesting area in the Galapagos in November of 2012, thus proving the importance of the Golfo Dulce as a feeding ground for the Pacific populations of Green Sea Turtles.
Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network
WIDECAST is an international scientific network that was founded in 1981 and currently works in more than 40 countries. Their goal is to pursue innovative research, training and livelihood initiatives; all centered on the recovery and sustainable management of depleted sea turtle populations. Their Latin American office is located in Tibas, San Jose. www.latinamericanseaturtles.org
Conservation as art
In 2006 WIDECAST started a project to prevent plastic bag contamination in the coastal areas called “Weaving for Nature.” They taught local women to convert plastic supermarket bags into woven purses to help improve their economic condition while promoting the creation of environmentally friendly products.
Article by Jani Schulz was originally published in Nature Air’s Landings magazine Vol. X No.1